May 17, 2022 By Czarinna Andres
Several Queens elected leaders gathered in Elmhurst Sunday for a rally in support of Steven Raga who is running to represent the 30th Assembly District.
The rally, which was held at C Moore Homestead Playground, drew Congressmembers Gregory Meeks and Grace Meng, State Senator John Liu, District Leader Melissa Sklarz, and local civic leaders, who have all endorsed Raga and were there to support him.
Raga, a Woodside resident, entered the race last month when the incumbent Brian Barnwell announced that he was no longer seeking reelection. Raga was selected by a committee formed to determine Barnwell’s replacement on the ticket.
“Our district needs to vote for an Assembly candidate who can immediately advocate for better housing, small businesses, and seniors,” Raga said during Sunday’s rally. “With my direct in-district leadership experience in government, nonprofit, and volunteer advocacy, I will continue to fight for our community. “
Raga, who stepped down as the executive director of Woodside on the Move earlier this month, has a long track record in government and the non-profit sector.
Prior to leading Woodside on the Move, he was the Northeast Regional Manager for Policy and Advocacy for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and was the chief of staff for Barnwell for four years. He is also on the board of several Filipino organizations and on Community Board 2.
“Steven has the passion and a drive to get the job done,” Meeks said at the rally. “He is making history and would be the first-ever Filipino American elected to office in New York State. His work combating housing inequity and educational inequality speak volumes of his commitment to our community and his passion for change. I am proud to endorse Steven Raga for The NYS Assembly.”
The newly-drafted borders for Assembly District 30 primarily cover the neighborhoods of Woodside and Elmhurst, along with parts of Maspeth. The district is one of the most diverse in the state and is majority AAPI—as in Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Raga would be the first Filipino American elected to office in New York State if his campaign is successful. He noted that he has long ties to the district.
“My family has lived in this district since immigrating in the 60s, and it would be an honor to serve our community in Albany.”
Raga has the support of state senator John Liu, who represents northeast Queens.
“Steven Raga has the vision and drive to re-imagine our community,” Liu said. “He has the passion for change and fights for the most vulnerable. Steven’s fight against housing injustice speaks for itself and highlights his commitment to change.”
Raga has also earned the support of Yi Andy Chen, a community leader and former council candidate. Chen said that Raga “understands the people of this district and the community he represents.”
Raga faces Ramón Cando in the June 28 Democratic primary.
Cando is a current Democratic District leader in the 35th assembly district. He is being backed by Hiram Monserrate, who is challenging Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry for the 35th District seat.
Raga has also been endorsed by Assemblymember Catalina Cruz and the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens.